Sunday, August 26, 2012

Grim news...

...After Gay Son’s Suicide, Mother Finds Blame in Herself and in Her Church

I have followed this case, and have discussed it at length with Frank. This is a new development. Tyler's mother had trouble initially with his gayness. The church is against homosexuality and she as a worshipper faced trouble accepting her son's gayness. That Tyler died is tragic, and we will never know the reasons for his suicide. But the larger point about the church, and about religion in general, is that it brings succour to millions. Religion, as is commonly bandied about, is not about blind acceptance but an active dissension and considered acceptance. Even on typically conservative matters, the church is moving forward. I can see how such a story can become the perfect pivot for church-bashing but in my view, religious sentiment is more nuanced than that. Even here, it is brought out in Tyler's mother's acceptance.


  1. Excellent comment, Vikram.

  2. julie9:20 AM

    To clarify slightly...the church is not against homosexuality but against the carnal practice of homosexuality...and Vikram I do think you are right with regard to the Church's advances.

    Interestingly, when I saw a local priest about being transgender (MTF) a situation I have been struggling with before man and God, his theological response was two fold: 1) trust in God and my own conscience; and, 2) he (the priest) wondered if anything that could be treated by technologies that have emerged in only the past 30 years like a gender change might be spiritually suspect.

    All in all he was a good representative of newer Church thinking. Recall that even Benedict has quoted with approval the theology of von Bathasar who teaches that Hell might be empty.

  3. Hi Julie, thanks for writing in. This is interesting. As a gay man, I have passed from ferocious doubt with regard to God's acceptance of homosexuality to a more dispassionate analysis of the subject matter. At one level, my relationship with God is of a piece with my relationship with the world, a relationship that, as Frank said to me in a different context (I do quote him a lot because he and Ihave such interesting conversations), existentialises rather than essentialises. The act of existence is so variegated as to open innumerable conduits for things unknown and unknowable. The sum total of this is God, for me. At another level, my relationship with God is not one of distant respect borne out of an unnamed terror. It is an active seeking out with someone I love and have no qualms fighting with over what I think is my due. In other words, it's between God and me, and while I would love the church to support me, I am willing to wait.

  4. Hi Vikram. (I keep waiting to have conversations with Frank -- we never quite seem to schedule a get together ;) )

    I have known God existed since I was very young -- could feel Him or Her or It. I also knew I was a girl since I was very young. The collision came because I grew up in a very Catholic (Byzantine Catholic) environment which was old old school -- I was either possessed by Satan or crazy for being trans. That struggle took 48 or so years to resolve, or, as I told the priest “when I was young I prayed for God to make me a girl. At the age of 51 I realized He had.”

    I tried many forms of Christianity but no other religion -- my conditioning I guess -- and finally came back to the Church in my own way and primarily because of the writings of both Benedict and John Paul (also my conditioning, I guess.)

    I don’t think the Church will ever quite get me -- despite my three favorite Bible quotes(paraphrasing): From Genesis, God created us in His Own Image male AND female He created us; In Matthew, Jesus said; There are those...that have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom; and in the letters of Paul, he said, In Heaven there is no male or female.

    Also, if you think about it Jesus saved his strongest condemnation for those who would tell each other what religion is and how they should worship – as Jesus said, Cursed be those who lay burdens on the people but do not lift a finger to help them.

    So all I can do is pray and celebrate in my own way – and always keep in mind Psalm 139 – I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The Church may or may not get there too – but I do think it is God’s Church.